Digital Tools Complement Organic Farming at an Islamic School in Indonesia — Global Issues

Orange trees growing with the help of a digital irrigation system connected to the water tank on the right side. Al Ittifaq Farm, Ciwidey, West Java, Indonesia. Credit: Kompas
  • by Kafil Yaminciwidey, west java, indonesia)
  • Inter Press Service

After the session is over, students know where to go and what to do. They take a hoe, a shovel and a machete and walk together to the school farm. the chaplainor teacher, divides them into groups and gives instructions.

Soon the students no longer look like apprentices but rather young farmers working the land. “This is part of our class lessons. We do this every day,” said Yadi, who is busy planting seeds. “I am planting green onions. But my friends are harvesting it on the other side of this farm.”

the internship The environment seems ideal for agriculture. Located in a hilly and mountainous area of ​​Ciwidey, West Java, 170 kilometers or about 4 hours drive from Jakarta, Al-Ittifaq complex is surrounded by green, in temperature ranging from 18°C ​​to 22°C , cold by tropical standards.

Orange grove — with a surprise

Senior teacher Anwar Mustiawan shows a reporter an area where lush orange trees with white trunks grow, and what makes the internship unique is revealed. Arranged in neat rows, some trees are more than two meters tall, others less than a meter. The ground under each one is covered with a tarp, and underneath is a sensor that measures the temperature and humidity of the ground. A water hose is attached to each tarp and connected to an automatic watering machine, which is attached to a huge water tank.

“The machine decides, based on soil temperature, when to water the soil,” Anwar said. “This is what digital agriculture technology is all about,” he added.

He also pointed out that the automatic irrigation machine is not used for all crops. “Our students need to know the temperature of the soil and when it is time to water them,” Anwar said.

Also present will be Aziz Elbehri, Senior Economist who leads the 1000 Digital Villages Initiative (DVI) at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in the Asia-Pacific region.

“We promote sustainable, resilient and digitized farming and ranching practices by helping policy makers and national and local government to meet the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030,” Elbehri told IPS during his visit to the internship on June 27.

“This use of technology needs to be spread and replicated to other rural communities,” he added.

Although Al-Ittifaq is at the heart of a thriving farming community, digitization is giving its inhabitants a new lease of life.

Everything produced on the farm goes to the Ittifaq cooperative, where students select, sort, pack, wrap and label the items. The company supplies local supermarkets, shopping malls and wholesalers with vegetables and fruits. It also buys products grown by local farmers, who have been its business partners since it was established in 1977.

The organization ships at least five tons of various vegetables daily to major cities in Indonesia, said the cooperative’s director, Agus Setia Irawan. “Demand is increasing because our product is highly competitive, which suggests that local farmers are capable of producing quality fruits and vegetables.”

That Al-Ittifaq practices organic farming is what makes the difference. “It is public knowledge that our products are planted, cultivated and processed in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way,” added Agus.

A student working at Al Ittifaq farm, Ciwidey, West Java, Indonesia, June 2022. Credit: Kafil Yamin/IPS.

self financed farm

The income from the business is used to finance Ittifaq’s educational operations. “Our syeikh taught us that a good person is financially self-sufficient and does not expect charity. He makes it happen. East internship it finances itself financially,” said Rezki, another student.

Al-Ittifaq also employs local residents to work on its 14-hectare farm, so students and local residents work together. “There are hundreds of people, most of them women, working with us in shifts. We are like a big family here,” Refky added.

The cooperative also partners with five farmer groups, each made up of 300 farmers working 70 hectares of land.

Not only does he have the internship made great strides in the agro-industrial business, it has also become the agricultural and agro-industrial training center for the residents, in collaboration with 20 other internship in West Java.

And as part of the digitization campaign, Ittifaq has started online marketing. Agus said the cooperative has adopted a so-called business-to-business-to-consumer (B2B2C) model. By partnering with other businesses, your online e-commerce efforts can reach new markets and customers.

“Our virtual marketing is done through an online agricultural store called Alifmart, which offers various features, including a product catalog, purchase mechanism and customer service,” he said.

FAO Representative in Indonesia, Rajendra Aryal, said that with more and more people gaining access to the internet, digital agriculture is becoming a major vehicle for transforming Indonesia’s food system.

“Indonesia is an archipelagic country struggling to give its people greater access to economic resources. The digitization of agriculture is coming into play now,” she said.

Target: 104 digital villages

The West Java administration has set a goal of digitizing 104 villages in the province by 2022.

“The villages are selected because they do not yet have access to the Internet. But we have been building Internet infrastructure for the last two years. Soon, they will no longer be in the white space,” said the head of the West Java Information and Communication Office, Ika Mardiah. “And soon the potential and the products of the villages will be in e-commerce, online transactions and promotion,” he added during a meeting with FAO officials on June 26.

To date, the Mardiah office has incorporated 4,225 village businesses in West Java into the digital business network under his leadership. “This involves more than 400 products, 12.8 million customers and a lot of money,” she said.

According to West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil, there will soon be more business, job and career opportunities in villages than in cities. “With digitization, the future of the young generation is in the villages,” he added at the meeting.

The Kamil administration has managed to build three themed digital villages: one focused on health, using technology to address the lack of specialized health facilities and doctors. Patients in five pilot areas can consult a family doctor online.

The multimedia digital village provides capacity-building in digital content creation skills for villagers in the province, while the educational digital villages are equipped with a so-called smart router as a source of educational materials that can be accessed by all residents of the province. village. Materials are regularly updated.

A global initiative inspired by FAO Director-General Mr QU Dongyu, DVI is being piloted throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Ciwidey is among the many communities showcasing and sharing their progress with other villages and areas in Asia-Pacific, as well as other regions of the world.

© Inter Press Service (2022) — All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service

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